Bowfin Facts

Bowfin Facts
Bowfin is a type of fish that belongs to the family of basal ray-finned fish. It can be found in the North America. Bowfin inhabits slow flowing rivers, streams, lakes, swamps and occasionally brackish waters. Bowfin is also known as mudfish or mud dog, due to ability to survive in murky, poorly oxygenated waters. This fish is not commercially fished due to poor quality of its meat. Number of bowfins in the wild is large and stable.
Interesting Bowfin Facts:
Bowfin can reach 25 to 28 inches in length and 2 to 10 pounds of weight. Females are larger than males.
Lateral and dorsal sides of the body are olive-green or brown colored and covered with dark blotches and vertical stripes. Ventral side of the body is pale green or creamy colored. Large, eye-like, black spot with orange outline can be seen on the tail of male bowfins.
Bowfin has cylindrical body with elongated dorsal fin and rounded caudal (tail) fin.
Bowfin has flat head with tube-like nostrils and strong jaws filled with sharp, cone-shaped teeth.
Unlike other species of fish, bowfin uses gas-bladder to maintain buoyancy and to facilitate breathing of the fresh air (to compensate lack of oxygen in the water). Bowfin intensifies breathing of fresh air at the water temperature of 19 to 29 degrees of Celsius.
Bowfin is often classified as primitive fish due to rounded tail, bony structure on the ventral side of the mouth (called gular plate) and vascularized air-bladder. These anatomical features are not typical for modern types of fish.
Bowfin is nocturnal animal (active during the night).
Bowfin is a carnivore (meat-eater). Its diet consists of fish, amphibians, snakes, turtles and aquatic insects.
Main predators of bowfin are large bowfin and humans.
Mating season of bowfin takes place from April to June.
Turquoise colored lips, throat and belly can be seen in males during the spawning season. Males are responsible for building of circular nests in the weedy areas and for guarding of eggs.
Mating ritual consists of chasing, nose biting and nudging. When female becomes receptive, she releases eggs that will be fertilized by male's semen.
Nest usually contains 2000 to 5000 eggs that hatch after 8 to 10 day. Hatchlings (larvae) are black colored and tadpole-like. They spend first 9 days of their life attached to the vegetation in the nest. When they reach length of 0.5 inches, young bowfins are ready to leave the nest. They remain under surveillance of their father for some more time.
When young fish reach length of 4 inches, they are ready for the independent life. Bowfin reaches sexual maturity at the age of 2 to 3 years.
Bowfin can survive 10 to 12 years in the wild and up to 30 years in the captivity.

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